Nagars are believed to be one of the oldest of the Brahmin groups. Historians claim the origin of Nagars to be purely Aryan, having come to India from Southern Europe and Central Asia. They migrated through the Hindu Kush to either Trivishtapa or Tibet; later through Kashmir and settled around Kurukshetra.It is also believed that before Nagars first came to Gujarat in 404 A.D., they lived in Sindh. According to Sir Herber Ridley, Nagars are a cross-breed of “Shaks” & “Dravids.” Dr. Bhandaarkar also considers that Nagars have origin outside our country. Nagars from across the borders came first to Kashmir and then they spread out in the states of Rajasthan, Punjab, Utter Pradesh, Bengal, Malva, and Gujarat. After migrating from Kurukshetra they had first settled in Anandpur – Vadnagar of today.
Another view asserts Nagars to be of Greek origin. When Alexander invaded India, he had came with his army through Kashmir. While returning, many Greek soldiers settled in Kashmir. They came into close contact of Pundit community of Kashmir and the progeny that resulted was known as Nagars. Afterwards, Nagars migrated to other parts of the country. Nagars and Greeks are considered similar even today so far as their intelligence and physique are concerned.
A famous historian from Junagadh and a well known Nagar Shri Shambhuprasad Desai had mentioned in his book about the history of Nagars that Nagars first came from Greece, Macedonia, Syria or regions surrounding these places. There is a Nagar ground near Jordan aAnd Israel. Besides, there is a place called Nagar. Also there is also a Nagar community in Iran, who are intelligent and famous and well known as good and efficient administrators. They might have come from there first toKangda (old NAGARKOT) of Himalayas. “NAG” means a mountain and “NAAG” means persons living in mountain region. “R” is a word of sixth tense. All these three put together becomes ” NAAGARA ” This leads us to to believe that Nagars must be living in the beginning in the regions surrounded by mountains. (Nagar – a man protected by NAG-a mountain)
Current research speculates the Aryan origin to be Hatak or Ladhakh, where the predominant deity is Hatak, Hatkesh or Hatkeshwar. According to the Skandapurana, the land of Hatkeshwar was a gift from Lord Shiva for the Nagars to colonize.
Another version of the legend claims the King of Anarta rebuilt an abandoned city, Chamatkarpur, and consecrated a temple to Hatkeshwar to show his gratitude to the Brahmins. Through the years, and many name changes, the town is currently known as Vadnagar. The inhabitants of the city were known as Nagars.
As time passed, the city of Vadnagar was invaded on more than one occasion. Nagars sought refuge in the nearby areas of Saurashtra and Rajasthan. During this time, they did their best to observe and preserve the code in order to guard their identity. After King Vishaldev conquered Gujarat (around A.C.E. 1040), the King of Ajmer established the cities of Vishnagar (formerly Vishalnagar), Chitrod (or Chitakutpati), Prashnipur, Krashnor, and Sathod (or Shatpad). He offered these cities to the Brahmins who were descendants or an offshoot of the Nagars from Vadnagar.
Typical Nagar last names:
Major Nagar groups (Naati) also derived in such way like Vadnagara from Vadnagar, Visnagara from Visnagar, Sathodra from Sathod and Chitroda from Chitod.
Derived from Geographical (Village or City) Names:
Anjaria Avasia Chhaya Dhebar Ghoda Hathi Joshipura Kharod Kukasia Mahudhia Mankad or Mankar Mankodi Pattani Rana Unakar Vasavada Veravala Vaishnav
Derived from Family Ancestry:
Antani Anantani Bavani Bhayani Kikani Maknani Premapuri Rindani Savani Vachhchharajani Vaishnav
Derived from Titles Awarded by Rajput and Muslim Rulers:
These rulers ruled Gujarat for about eight centuries. Nagars were on prominent positions and were awarded many titles. These twenty surnames include names such as:
Baxi Bhagat Desai Divan Durkal Hazrat Janita Jathhal Jha Kazi Majmudar Mazumdar Medh Munshi Parghi Pota Saiyad Swadia.
Derived from Professional Titles:
Most of Nagars are professionals. Many surnames were derived from the profession they were engaged in. These names include: Acharya Buch Druv Jikar Mehta Nanavati Pandit Purohit Vaidya
There are several surnames used in various regions in Gujarat. From Kachchh, these are, Kachchhi Maru Oza Jhala
Dholakia Pancholi Jha
Other Nagar last names in Gujarat:
Bhatt Dave Divetia Dwivedi Dixit Joshi Maharaja Pathakji Raval Shukla Tripathi Trivedi Vora Vyas Yagnik